N Range Roof Repairs Progress

Over the winter of 2020-21 the leaky Ironing Room roof and part of the North Range roof and the chimneys were being repaired, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, Historic England and the Historic Houses Foundation.

The first picture shows the hunkypunk on the E gable of the N range. It was carved about 10 years ago by sculptor Jitka Palmer. Hunkypunk is a Somerset vernacular term for a grotesque – a decorative architectural feature.

October – December 2020

Work started with the erection of scaffolding, to support a temporary over-roof which protects the old building and workmen from the winter weather. The over-roof is like the corrugated iron roof over the chapel, but larger. Progress is shown in the images above.

The picture above is taken from the top of the E gable on the N range. The clock tower is approx. centre top, the chimney above the laundry room (chimney 8) centre at the right side. The poor condition of the surviving base of chimney 8 is clearly visible. The image below shows the terrible condition of chimney 6, further to the west. It has six vents including the one from the old kitchen in the Mansion. We have been fortunate in securing a small further grant from Historic England to undertake repairs while the main scaffolding is still in place.

January 2021

The image above shows the over-roof in position. We had a small snowfall on 10th January 2021 which luckily only disturbed work for a day.

The image above shows the start of the roofing work, with tiles stripped off the south facing side of the N range. It will be redone in green Westmorland slate. The torching beneath the slates has been revealed in places – the white lime mortar in the space between the wooden laths. This is applied from the inside of the roof when the tiling is complete, to prevent draughts and the tiles lifting in high winds.

This next image shows the Cotswold stone slates stripped off the east facing side of the ironing room roof. Re-useable slates can be seen stacked in the foreground.

Another decorative feature at the Mansion is the ten carved owls supporting the gutter in the courtyard (upper picture). As you can see from the lower picture, they have been boxed up for the duration of the works.

February 2021

Work is now proceeding rapidly with stripping off the old roofing and re-tiling.

Re-tiling of the side of the north range facing into the courtyard has now begun. The picture above, taken facing approximately west, shows progress in the area between chimney 6 and chimney 7, whose repair is also included in the project. The new green slates can be seen to the bottom left.

Above left we can see the start of repairs to chimney 8, a large stack with eight vents. It is shown almost finished on top right in the righthand image, with the ventilator from the game larder with its new capping stone to the bottom left. Note that at the moment the chimney has a canvas covering to protect the lime mortar from frost and to encourage it to dry out steadily.

March 2021

Getting on! The new slates are progressing steadily.

Two masons’ marks were discovered on the chimneys. They are not very common in the Mansion and both are on good stone which will be retained during the conservation. But sadly, due to their location, they will not be on view to the public in future.

The image above right, taken inside the ironing room, shows the elegant central column supporting the roof. There are pointed arches on either side of the column, which are supported on the outside by the east and west walls of the room. The roundel above the top of the column sits under the apex of the roof, with the tops of the two arches on either side. The photo on the left shows an unusual view of this roundel (circled) from the outside – only possible as the roof slates have been removed.

April 2021

The ironing room roof is now completed. The image above shows the finished work from the east. The west side is currently hard to see, as it’s covered in scaffolding, but the unsightly corrugated iron patching has vanished.

Below is another striking image looking down on, to the left, the north range with the rows of green slates nearing completion, and to the right, the finished Cotswold stone slates on the ironing room roof. Note the repairs to the stone in the ventilator from the game larder.

June 2021

The new green slates on the N range. In the left-hand photo the roof is viewed looking NW. You can see chimney 8 and behind it, the smaller chimney 7 is just visible. On the right the photo has been taken looking N and up to the hunkypunk on the NE gable.


The grant includes funding to repair the stonework and glazing in the first and second floor corridor windows at the east end of the south range. Progress is shown in the pictures above (taken from outside the Mansion at the end of March). The more ornate first floor window is on the left.

The next image is of the window at the end of the first floor corridor, outside the main bedrooms. The poor condition of the stonework and original stained glass is obvious on the left. To the right the repaired stonework is visible.

16th June – Chimneys

Chimney 8 – above – is now revealed. The stack is about ten foot high.

The next image is of the smaller chimney 7, before rebuilding work started. Note how the blocks of stone interlock. Work has been slowed due to delays in stone supply for chimneys 6 and 7, but it has now arrived and we hope that the whole project will be completed soon.

June 2021.

The over-roof has been removed. In the image above you can see the finished chimneys 7 and 8, from up on the scaffolding in the courtyard. Beyond them chimney 6 is still under repair. Stone has arrived, the base is complete and the six interlocked stacks are starting to go up.

The work should be finished and the scaffold all down by the third week in July.

Update Mid-July

The easternmost chimneys are now visible from ground level as the scaffolding is taken down. Work continues on chimney 6; it has slowed a bit due to the virus but we are hopeful all will be finished by the end of the month.

7th August – nearly there!

Chimney 6 (furthest from camera) is complete and the final areas of roof around are being finished. The scaffolding should all be gone in two weeks. The photo clearly shows (centre) the green slate replacing the original on the north range and, to the left, the new Cotswold stone slates on the east facing side of the ironing room roof.

14th August – the courtyard side

Looking across the courtyard from the S range, you can see the three restored chimney stacks (from left to right, numbers six, seven and eight) above the new green slate roof on the N range. To the right is the new Cotswold stone slate roof on the ironing room, surmounted by the air vent from the game larder.The scaffolding is now on its way down!

23rd August

The ironing room roof – before and after repair.

September 2021

The scaffolding has all gone. Work finished! Click here for more images.

Thank-you to Max our site manager, our architects, Donald Insall Associates, David Price from the HHF and several volunteers for the photographs used above.

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